“Mostarda Siciliana”

(“Mustarda”)


                       Mostarda

 

The "Mustarda" is a very thick marmalade made from cooked wine called must. This must is called in Italian mosto and in Sicilian mustu, hence the name mostarda or mustarda.
The must is freshly pressed juice of grapes before fermentation and cooked until it is reduced to half. After the must is cooled overnight, reduced to half again and stored in airtight containers you now have the main ingredient to make the Mustarda. (See recipe: Cooked Wine-Vino Cotto)
To make the mustarda you need the must, cornstarch, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and (optional) toasted chopped almonds.
This must is made after the harvest of the grapes and the mostarda is habitually prepared in November. It is a common gift to bring to neighbors and friends for Christmas; it was also used as a dessert for a special celebration or after a particular dinner.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. must
  • 4 oz. cornstarch. It varies according to the density of the must.
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 grounded clove
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 bay leaf

  PREPARATION


Over medium heat in a stainless sauce pan combine must, cinnamon, zest of oranges, nutmeg, clove and bay leaf.

 

Mostarda2


Dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of water to form a paste without lumps, add into it about a ladle of the must, mix it thoroughly and pour into a pot. Turn it often and very slowly, making sure that it does not stick to the bottom.
Cook until must becomes thick, almost solid. Remove bay leaf. 
Pour into mustarda moulds or spread in pans to a one inch thickness. Expose to the sun’s rays to dry for a day. Then invert the moulds onto a tray or cut the mustarda in the pan into two inch squares or triangles. Cover each piece with granulated sugar and expose again to the sun’s rays until they are completely dry to the touch.

                                Mostarda
Wrap each piece with foil or wax paper and store in a cool place.

 

                                  Mostarda

 


VARIATION
In other parts of Sicily, around November, they cook freshly pressed juice of grapes before fermentation for 6 to 8 hours with any available fruits like quinces, apples, pears, figs, orange peels and any fruits that could not be sold or because of the coming cold weather would not ripen. Out of this delicious concoction they make a mustarda or a thick marmalade mostly used to make crostate (pies).